Over the past few years at E3, Sony has presented some of the most surprising and exciting press conferences. This year was one in which many gamers anticipated release dates as well as a few unexpected announcements. Instead, what gamers got was a near copy and paste of the show Sony put on at E3 2016.
I believe it was Don Cheadle in Ocean’s Thirteen who said it best. “You don’t do the same gag twice, you do the next gag.” Well, Sony could have used that advice because they thought lightning could strike twice. Instead of captivating gamers with yet another stunning show, Sony threw out pretty much the same set of games we saw last year, in addition to one that was strikingly absent.
There were plenty of announcements during the Sony show, but none of them carried the weight they did during last year’s show. Games like Days Gone, God of War, Detroit Become Human and Spider-Man all felt less like surprises. Instead, they came across as predictable and something we knew we would see.
What was worse for me is the fact that most of the major PS4 exclusives they showed off didn’t come with release dates. Of the aforementioned four major PS4 exclusives, God of War was one of the only games to get a release time frame. Yes, that’s right, a time frame, not an exact date.
This points to an even bigger issue Sony is trending toward. Revealing and teasing games far before they are ready for launch. Hey, I love getting hyped for upcoming games as much as the next person, but come on, when are these darn things coming out? Say what you want about Microsoft’s press conference, but at least they came prepared with release dates and time frames for their big Xbox One games. Sony came with trailers and a lack of dates.
All of this has gamers facing a rather weak and uninspired fall lineup of PS4 games. Sure, we’ll see the standalone expansion of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. Sony will bring an expansion for Horizon Zero Dawn. Even Knack 2 and Gran Turismo Sport will lead the pack as PS4’s major exclusives. Despite these titles, Sony has left me feeling quite underwhelmed and a bit annoyed.
Sony is becoming predictable. They are earning the reputation of a publisher that can tease games great, but can’t deliver in a timely fashion. The fact that they closed with Spider-Man as their send off for E3 was exciting, but still, it felt like something was missing. Perhaps it was the ugly presence of their closing game having quite a few quicktime events. On the other hand, maybe it was the absence of another game.
Last year, Sony showcased The Last of Us Part II and this year, we heard nothing about it. I found this to be quite disappointing, given the game has been in development for a year longer compared to when it was shown last year. Even though this was their big ending, it felt like a big let down.
For some positives, Days Gone is looking absolutely magnificent. Santa Monica’s work on God of War looks like it is coming along quite nicely. Insomniac’s Spider-Man actually looks like a serious AAA experience for the brand, and not some licensed out, half-hearted effort. It is cool that Sony is doing a remake of Shadow of the Colossus, but we’re four years into the life-cycle. Do we really need more remakes?
The base PS4 is being discounted to $249 for a limited time, a price that certainly is a win for gamers looking to adopt. That said, I fully expected Sony to drop the price of PS4 Pro, given Xbox One X’s hefty tag of $499. This was a perfect opportunity for Sony to strike another gamer-friendly cord, but they did not.
PlayStation VR received a fast and furious string of game reveals. There are a lot of cool experiences coming to the platform, and PSVR owners should be excited. Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR is a very cool announcement, but let’s be real, do you want to spend another 70-100 hours in a game you already played, and do so in VR? It is great to see Sony supporting the platform as heavily as they are. With over 1 million units having been sold, PSVR seems to be doing well.
There are plenty of PS4 games to look forward to and some of them were highlighted in the briefing. Games like Call of Duty: WWII, Destiny 2, Monster Hunter World and others stood tall. Third party publishers are bringing a lot of great benefits to PS4 players, and the conference showed that. Bungie’s Destiny 2 is giving PS4 players an exclusive multiplayer map, exclusive strike, exclusive gear and more.
When I take a step back and look at everything Sony is doing, there are a lot of positives. They have exciting exclusives, even if they won’t release for years. They have an incredibly affordable and powerful lineup of gaming systems. What’s more is they have the favor of gamers, something that is a priceless asset and won’t last forever.
However, they are still woefully lacking in the Backwards Compatibility department. Microsoft is using that as a fan-friendly feature, while Sony continues to ignore its value. Releasing exclusives in a timely manor is something Sony continues to struggle with. Gamers seem to be forgiving to Sony for this, but if it continues, the tune from gamers may change.
I really am excited about the PS4 exclusives coming down the pike this year, 2018 and beyond. I just wish Sony would be a little less of a tease and a bit more real with gamers. After all, being real with us is what has earned them such a massive gap in the console competition between them and Microsoft. Stick around here at We Write Things for more on PlayStation.